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A Flashback: The student has become the teacher!

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NoteJacky C. has a deep experience with the American ginseng industry. Any opinions expressed in this blog are his.

“The student has become the teacher!” said John Pomfret a journalist for the Washington Post. A purchaser had taught Wisconsin ginseng farmers to grow ginseng of a higher quality.

Prior to Beijing Tong Ren Tang’s presence in Wisconsin, the ginseng industry was struggling. Unsold inventory from previous years was piling up, with no buyers in sight, due to poorer quality than ginseng found elsewhere. Worsening the industry, local Wisconsin farmers lacked the means to create proper channels into reaching Mainstream Chinese consumers. At that time, Wisconsin ginseng farmers saw Beijing Tong Ren Tang as a sort of saving grace.

A Washington Post article in 2009 describes the situation (Link below)--
http://host.madison.com/business/from-ginseng-farmers-to-governor-wisconsinites-look-to-china-for/article_6e0ab3ff-0b58-5cb7-a8a5-17930ebac4a9.html

NCG Ginseng, a representative of Beijing Tong Ren Tang since 2009, has helped in the change of Wisconsin’s ginseng industry. Since then, the NCG family has come to only accept the highest quality of ginseng roots. In order to ensure that the standard is constantly being met, we work closely with our growers.

Here are some of our requirements: 

  • Ginseng must be planted in non-contaminated virgin soil. This is guaranteed by verified soil sample tests prior to planting.
  • Only strictly U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) certified use of pesticides and fungicides is permitted. This is so that the ginseng avoids all residues of potential contaminants containing chemicals and/or heavy metals.
  • Fresh ginseng roots must be cooled at temperatures above freezing for about two weeks after harvest. This is to achieve better skin wrinkling and ensures proper drying.
  • The roots must be thoroughly washed and dried in our way to get a perfect interior and exterior colour. 

Since 2009, ginseng quality has begun to improve, however, due to the snowstorm of spring 2010 a large portion of ginseng gardens in Wisconsin saw extensive damage. For the last 5 years, the ginseng industry was a Seller’s Market as a result of low supply. As such the price of ginseng increased by about 30% annually. But that is no longer the case!

At last year's ginseng prices, average ginseng farmers were able to make around a 300% return on their initial investments (some even made returns at a rate of 400%) making ginseng the most lucrative agricultural crop in the US.

You might be asking yourself, “If ginseng is so lucrative, then why doesn’t everybody just do it?” Well see, the process of growing ginseng is much more complicated than growing your average crop. It is not only a very costly process, but it is also considered to be a high-risk investment, not to mention the sheer amount of work that goes into ensuring the healthy growth of these roots. A single ginseng garden of one acre (4,047sqm) needs about fifty thousands dollars of investment during a five-year period. The average per-acre yield of dried ginseng roots for Wisconsin is around 1,250 pounds, so that's a lot of money per pound when it comes to the cost for farmers. With all the facts taken into consideration, there are then two ways to lower the per-pound cost: a) by cutting the overall investment or; b) by increasing the yield per acre.

On average growers of smaller scale farms opted to cut investments while those with larger scale farms attempted to increase the yield of ginseng by investing more in higher quality pesticide and fungicide products so as to effectively prevent diseases in ginseng plants. The final outcome? In general bigger growers about doubled their yield while smaller growers saw yields that were below the norm. As a result we’ve come to learn that the prevalence of disease amongst ginseng plants is the single biggest challenge to growing it.

Ginseng farmers -- who we have chosen to work closely with since 2009 -- were greatly rewarded. They continue to invest heavily into buying clean land and equipment to ensure that only the highest quality of ginseng is grown and in turn supplied to us here at the NCG family. As such, we can confidently provide true quality products to our treasured customers.

Remember, we’ll stop at nothing to bring you the best!

-The NCG Family

 

青出于蓝而胜于蓝! 

 

“学生已经成为了老师!《华盛顿邮报》记者约翰·庞弗雷特如是说。一个购买者教会了威斯康辛参农如何生产高质量花旗参。

在北京同仁堂进入威斯康辛州市场之前,这里的花旗参行业已岌岌可危,多年积攒的花旗参积压着库存,没有人看好威斯康辛的花旗参,因为其质量并不突出,而且外形也不好看。更糟糕的是,当地参农缺少直通中国需求客户的渠道。就在那时,同仁堂的介入给当地的参农带来了一线曙光。

《华盛顿邮报》相关报道如下:

http://host.madison.com/business/from-ginseng-farmers-to-governor-wisconsinites-look-to-china-for/article_6e0ab3ff-0b58-5cb7-a8a5-17930ebac4a9.html

NCG Ginseng Inc.从2009年作为北京同仁堂的代理方,也一同协助改变了威斯康辛州的花旗参产业。从那时起,NCG团队开始只接受高品质花旗参。为了确保采购的参的品质可以达到标准,我们在一年四季农作时期也一直与我们的花旗参农夫保持着密切的联系,以从源头上把控高标准花旗参,即:

1.花旗参的种植必须选择未被污染的处女地(处女地:未种植过花旗参的土地)。此项标准需要在种植之前采集土壤样本做测试来鉴定。

2.在花旗参的种植过程中,只允许使用通过EPA严格要求的范围内的杀虫剂。此项要求可以在减少花旗参遭受病虫害的同时,从源头控制花旗参的重金属污染和农药残留问题。

3.新鲜花旗参在采收之后必须在冷藏室冷藏两周。以保证花旗参表面的纹理特点以及确保烘干的顺利;

4.花旗参必须要经过合理的清洗和NCG要求的烘干方法以保证完美的颜色和有效的成分。

2009年开始,威斯康辛州的花旗参质量开始提高,然而,因为2010年春天的一场巨大的暴风雪袭击了这里,给花旗参行业造成了较大的损失,而同时,随着中国大陆消费者对花旗参的认知的提高,而导致需求不断的增加,因此在过去的五年里,花旗参的供不应求导致价格每年飙升30%!然而,请相信,价格不会再涨下去了!

按照2014的花旗参市场价格来看,参农的平均收入可以在满足成本的基础上达到两到三倍的利润!这样看来,花旗参种植业貌似是一个收入非常可观的行业。您可能会想,“既然花旗参是这么高利润的行业,为什么不去尝试做一下呢?”事实上,花旗参的种植技术要远远复杂于一般的农作物,这不仅仅是一个高代价投资的过程,也是一个高风险投资的项目,确保你的参能够历经四五年依旧茁壮健康,并不是一件容易的事。一个农夫种植1英亩地(4047平方米)需要投资数万美金和五年的周期时间,在威斯康辛州,平均产量是1250磅/亩,所以,农夫的成本就不可小觑,如果您的投资没有到位,或者您的产量不足,都会导致您的收益下降。

通常来说,小规模的参农会从各方面减少投资来降低成本,而规模较大的参农则选择通过高质量的杀虫剂来保证产量,如此带来的结果则是,大农夫可以使自己收益成倍增长到2500磅/英亩,而小农夫却会因为投资不到位而导致产出也并不理想。由此可见,病虫害问题是花旗参种植业的一个普遍的难题。

像鲍曼兄弟(NCG从2009年就开始密切合作的伙伴之一)的花旗参产业就得到了可观的回报。他们一直坚持选择干净优质的土地,并巨资投入高级的加工设备,致使产出的花旗参的质量远远高于他人,因此得以多年来一直是NCG的优秀合作伙伴,也正因为对合作伙伴的了解,我们才胸有成竹的向大家推广我们的高质量花旗参。

请记住,我们会从一而终的为您提供最好的花旗参!

-NCG团队

 

A typical Wisconsin ginseng field.
April 19, 2015 by Jacky Chang
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